As of time of writing, I've watched the first five days; I'll keep this spoiler-free just in case anyone has plans on watching it...which you absolutely should!
First of all, if you've not seen much New Japan then this tournament might not be the easiest way in BUT it is a great opportunity to catch a near endless stream of really, really good matches on each card. The G1 can be a grind, especially if you want to catch everything, but there's PLENTY of superb wrestling up for grabs. I'm not sure if the first five days put in on course to be better than last year's amazing G1, but it's still great.
I'm a good few shows behind still but, for me, the standout match has been Kenny Omega vs Hirooki Goto on Day 4. I can't get over what an incredible all-round talent Kenny Omega has become. I was never a massive fan of his work until his Okada matches but, looking at him now, I'd say he comes across as the best in the world.
In Block A, Jay White is really impressing me. I wasn't sure about his prospects when he came back just before Wrestle Kingdom, but now his demeanour reminds me a little of an Attitude-era Triple H.
I think the 'Broken Okada' character (Brokada? Nokada?)is really interesting. I wasn't sure how you book a guy who comes off the greatest modern-era championship run, but this is certainly one way to do it. I like how he has subtly changed the whole way he wrestles to fit the character. Personally, I would have given him six months off as a reward and a chance to cool off his character, but this scatterbrained character with the goofy balloons is kinda fun.
Block B certainly has the more mouth-watering prospect of matches: Omega vs Ibushi and Naito vs Sanada look like must-sees.
Anyway, I'd love to hear the thoughts of anyone else who has caught some of it.
I've been trying to catch up all day but I'm still a few days behind as well. I try not to skip too much but damnit sometimes you have to dump the undercard (but those are fun too. especially with the looming attacks of the OGBC)
Omega is proving that he is a great wrestler. But then again, the guys going up against him are never slouches and are pretty damn capable of delivering 5-star matches with or without him. Loved his Naito match (ofcourse I'm a Naito guy)
And I love the stories they tell that are actually different than I thought they'd be. Nokada is awesome. Yano Toru TRYING to not cheat. Switchblade cheating and getting wins. the OGBC using old school nWo gang tactics. Good times.
As always when NJPW is firing on all cylinders, they're proving they are the best WRESTLING company in the world and WWE can dream of doing tournaments like this.
I was sure who was going to win the blocks and then what happens. But my predictions so far were off very much so I no longer have a clue
Sanada vs ZSJ was a fun, only get these in tourneys, type match. Reminds me of the video posted here long ago about two heel Mexican wrestlers that are both carolers like that. No punches or kicks the whole match. A match like that would die a death in WWE.
I've been watching all of the NJPW stuff since last January. (Yes, the Jericho / Omega match at Wrestle Kingdom lured me into getting a subscription, & I've been hooked ever since.)
I'm chronically a couple of days behind on the G1 (as I was on BSOJ). I'd thought about doing short recaps here, but wasn't sure if the lag wouldn't be problematic, & that there would be enough interest. I'm through 7/26 (the 8th show) at this writing.
B block has all the champions, & wherever Kenny is, awesome is immediately generated in his wake. But, yeah, there is really good stuff happening over in A block as well.
I do love the way that the undercard is laid out to set up for the following day's tournament matches. Whether it's just a teaser, or whether it's some substantial plot or character establishment, I think it's great.
Jay White is killing it in A block, which makes me very happy. He's rocking the motivated, goal-directed heel fabulously. Even though he's not getting a lot of wins, Hangman is making a really great showing. (Much like Flip made a great showing in the BOSJ.)
I'm kinda confused about what they're doing with Okada, but I'm interested to see where it ends up going. Who would have ever thought that I'd vibe with Minoru Suzuki, but I love that cranky old fart, who can still just beat the shit out of anybody. :-)
B block is all Kenny. Not only is he that awesome, but he's one of those who also pulls out the best from whoever he's working with. And he never has the same match twice in a row. That's one thing that you can really see in this kind of tournament format, since you're seeing them work every (damn) night, with a different opponent. Kenny absolutely owns the world at this point.
I've noticed Sanada in the past as having some really nice skills, but he seems to be thriving here. Lots of depth in the match with Ibushi. Putting Taka Michinoku with ZSJ was a really good move -- Zack is kind of "icy" to get behind without a bit of support. Not only is Zack adding more diversity to his repertoire, but he's also broadening out from "matches feel the same", while still keeping his signature style.
And then there's the whole "BC OG - Fuck 'em." This is an awesome thread to tie everything together. They're spread out across both blocks, so they're doing their thing every show! I've liked Tama Tonga, but he's very much been in the background since I've been watching. They've just exploded here. Love it!
When One Man Gang was champ in '86-'87 period in the UWF, wasn't Ron Simmons just breaking into Florida as a rookie? What Bill should have done is put the belt on DiBiase, and then have him turn heel on Dr. Death.